Killing zombies is no small matter. Sure, everyone knows that going upside their head takes care of business, but to be a world-class zombie hunter you have to do it with style.
The surroundings, the weaponry, the company you keep in your last desperate hours of survival, and the meanness of the undead are what a good zombie apocalypse is all about.
There are plenty of ways to kill a zombie on iPhone, so this recreation of the extra mode on console shooter Call of Duty: World at War has a lot of stiff (get it?) competition.Surfboarding Nazi zombies from beyond hell
Okay, so the first rule of great zombie horror is about where your last stand takes place, and in the case of Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies (can I call it CoD: Zombies from now on, and save a few keyboard miles?) (Yes - Ed) the developer has made an excellent choice.
Your CoD troops have found themselves trapped in a dilapidated German bunker, with crumbling defences and a horde of hungry, zombified Nazis clamouring to get in.
Although you're quite well armed, there are a lot of ways for the undead to sneak into your soon-to-be tomb, and an important part of the game is fighting them back and briefly repairing your barricades.
It's a reasonably small map, but if anything the cramped conditions only add to the desperateness of your situation. It's beautifully rendered in 3D, with plenty of debris lying about the place to trip you up, and the iPhone 3G throws the polygons around the screen with ease - even when it's busying up with the ravenous undead.We must learn to control them
Where the majority of iPhone FPS games fall down is in their controls. During the first couple of rounds it appeared that CoD: Zombies was no different.
The default method of control uses a virtual analogue stick for movement (which operates very nicely) while sliding your thumb around anywhere on the right-hand side of the screen moves your vision.
This would be fine except for the debilitating clash between movement and the fire and aiming buttons.
You also have the option of switching to two analogue thumb-sticks, which is better, but still very clumsy. The third method uses the same thumb-stick for movement, and the accelerometer for looking around the place.
This works beautifully, and with the addition of swiping across the screen quickly to turn 90 degrees, running around while aiming, shooting and looking about the place is easy, accurate and very effective.
CoD: Zombies also holds your hand to a small degree when aiming and shooting. Get a zombie roughly in your sights and your gun tracks them automatically (though not very accurately).
Pressing the 'aim' button gives you an iron sight view, which also makes a small effort to track the zombie's head. You still need to take careful shots, however, as the these flesh eaters stagger about the place erratically.
This all adds up to a some great controls that make defence of your broken down bunker very accessible, but still offer massive satisfaction when you pull off a long-distance headshot or turn around to find blood-dripping teeth bearing down on you.Company of the dead
So far, CoD: Zombies is shaping up to be as good an FPS as we've seen on iPhone. But this isn't all it has to offer. Fighting for survival is always better with a bit of company, and the developer is clearly aware of this. A selection of multiplayer modes are available right from the outset.
Local Bluetooth multiplayer allows two devices to connect up and take on the horde together, while using wi-fi locally expands your band of survivors to four players. All well and good, and the connected play is seamless and exciting, but getting four people together each with an iPhone or iPod touch and CoD: Zombies loaded up isn't all that easy.
Fortunately, the game also includes online internet play (though it still needs wi-fi, and doesn't work over 3G), with a simple and easy to use hub allowing you to host or join private parties of up to four friends. Or you can jump into a game with three strangers using its automatic matchmaking system.
While testing the game, this matchmaking system was fast and efficient, as was the actual online gameplay. Very little in the way of network lag, and plenty of zombies to go around allows for some spectacular sharpshooting competitions and undead-slaying camaraderie.
All the elements of first-class zombie horror are beautifully incorporated into Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies, which more than earns its six quid (or ten bucks, if you prefer). The promise of additional downloadable maps is the icing on this deliciously rotting cake, making it an essential game for hardcore players, FPS junkies and CoD fans.
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